PRESS STATEMENT - JULY 15, 2015
Fix 66 group releases statement on VDOT’s decision to advance potential public-private partnership option for I-66
FAIRFAX, VA – Fix 66, a newly formed group to advocate for a managed lanes and bus rapid transit system to improve mobility in the I-66 corridor outside of the Capital Beltway, released the following response to VDOT’s announcement today that they will advance a public-private partnership (P3) option for I-66 improvements to evaluate it with the previously announced public financing option.
“We applaud VDOT’s decision to put the public-private partnership option on the table because maximizing private sector investment and ingenuity is the best approach to delivering the most benefit, reducing construction impacts, and minimizing the risk to Virginia taxpayers.
If VDOT decides to go it alone with the public financing option, it could be a fiasco for Virginia taxpayers and I-66 commuters resulting in a taxpayer bailout that would wipe all the current transportation funding and likely shutter local road projects throughout Virginia.
However, we are cautiously optimistic with today’s announcement that VDOT will make the right decision in moving forward with the public – private partnership to bringing traffic congestion relief and a better quality of life to the I-66 Corridor.
With more than 1,000 supporters and growing, Fix 66 will continue to advocate for a managed lanes and bus rapid transit, maximizing private investment, and minimizing potential impacts to its communities, businesses and commuters during construction."
To learn more information about the group, please visit www.fix66.org.
PRESS RELEASE - JULY 8, 2015
New Group Launched to Advocate for I-66 HOT Lanes
“Fix 66” Urges VDOT to replicate success of Beltway/I-95 projects to deliver improvements
FAIRFAX – A new group called Fix 66 has been formed to advocate for a managed lanes and bus rapid transit system in the I-66 corridor, outside of the Capital Beltway, by maximizing private sector investment and minimizing potential impacts to its communities, businesses and commuters during construction.
Anthony Bedell, a lifelong Fairfax County resident, local political leader, and former official of the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Small Business Administration, says he is starting the Fix 66 group to give a voice to those who want to see improvements moved forward in the fastest and smartest way.
“I-66 commuters are frustrated and small businesses are losing money due to the traffic gridlock and unpredictable commute times on the interstate highway,” stated Bedell, chairman of Fix 66. “The I-66 Corridor is in desperate need of transportation improvements and we need them now. People deserve to spend more time with their families and other normal activities rather than being stuck on I-66 for hours in their morning and evening commutes.”
Bedell went on to say that his group believes the best and quickest way to provide traffic relief is duplicating the success of the public-private partnership model for the I-95 and Capital Beltway projects.
“As a longtime Fairfax County resident, I’ve certainly been directly impacted by all of VDOT’s megaprojects. The projects with private investment tend to be more financially sound for taxpayers and deliver greater improvements in a shorter amount of time,” stated Bedell. “Why change that course of action for I-66?”
While Bedell acknowledges Governor Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane commitment to improving travel in the I-66 corridor, he believes they are getting misguided advice in advancing a public financing option. Given the history of cost overruns and delayed completion of traditional VDOT projects, Bedell says the I-66 corridor can ill afford to count on VDOT to go it alone on this complicated and risky project.
To learn more information about the group, please visit www.fix66.org.
Fix I-66: Editorial in Fairfax County Times
VDOT’s I-66 plan will deliver major improvements in the corridor
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has developed a solid plan to improve travel in the I-66 Corridor, outside of the Beltway from the I-495 interchange all the way to Haymarket. The HOT Lanes on the Beltway and I-95 have been a successful game changer for many commuters, including myself, and they will deliver significant improvements for the I-66 Corridor under VDOT’s plan.
Instead of cheering for VDOT, some NIMBY’s (NOT in My Back Yard) in the corridor are trying to put the brakes on the project by calling for more studies and more public meetings as if they would magically come up with a perfect solution that would whisk away all the congestion. Some think that only a metrorail extension would solve all the traffic problems in corridor. Let’s take a closer look at that idea.
According to WMATA’s 2015 ridership report, the metrorail ridership for the Vienna Station and Dunn Loring station, the two stations on I-66 outside of the Beltway, is 15,844 per day. The total amount of vehicles that travel past those stations on I-66 is approximately 174,000 per day according to VDOT’s annual traffic data report.
While I think everyone would support a metrorail extension, it would barely make a dent in the traffic congestion on I-66 and not every commuter on I-66 works near a convenient metro stop. That is why 174,000 vehicles still travel on the interstate every day. Also, WMATA has its hands full with running the existing metrorail system and should focus on improving the current infrastructure before expanding which could take more than a decade to develop.
What I-66 needs now is more capacity and dedicated lanes for transit buses and carpoolers. The one HOV Lane is often congested and many times has as many cheaters driving in the lane than carpools. For those who can’t take a bus or carpool to ride the lanes, the toll option provides motorist with an avenue to use when they have to get somewhere on time which does not exist on I-66 today.
The silent majority of I-66 commuters and voters don’t want any more excuses or studies. The I-66 Corridor has been studied, dissected and probed more times than enough. It is time to put a shovel in the ground.
Commuters on I-66 have been beaten down by congestion every single day for more than two decades. Traffic congestion on I-66 has made their quality of life down right miserable at times and often increased their stress level to an almost unbearable state.
Most I-66 commuters don’t get to enjoy time with their families at the dining room table during the week. Many parents have to make the tough choice in saying no to sports and after school programs for their kids because they can’t make it home in time to drop off or pick them up. They often miss medical appointments or miss work to allow for enough time to make them.
Residents and businesses in the I-66 Corridor are tired of studies and empty promises. They are tired of wasting minutes and even hours in having to leave early for work, school, vacation and appointments because of the unpredictable travel times on the interstate.
VDOT’s planned improvements for the I-66 Corridor outside of the Beltway are not perfect by any means, but it is a major step forward in tackling what many consider the ‘Holy Grail’ of transportation issues in Virginia. By building four HOT lanes, two in each direction, the project would provide more travel options, better transit service, more reliable carpooling travel, and significantly improve safety in the corridor.
Imagine not having to take a half day off from work to attend a concert at Jiffy Lube Live. If you own a business in delivery or are a service provider, imagine being able to fit in more deliveries or service appointments in any given day regardless of the time. If you are a retail store manager, imagine more customers in your store. If you are a parent, imagine more time with your children. If you are a carpooler, imagine having traveling on free flowing lanes during rush hour.
Now that VDOT is looking at advancing improvements as a public-private partnership, there should be no concerns about local road funds being diverted away from other improvements.
There will still be time enough for improving the design of the project and minimizing impacts to local communities or adjacent residents.
However, there is no reason to delay. Transportation is the top issue when it comes to Northern Virginia residents and voters. We are tired of empty campaign promises. It is time for our elected officials and I-66 community to rally around VDOT in advancing their plan for delivering major improvements in the corridor.
About the Author
Anthony Bedell, chair of Fix I-66, is a lifelong Fairfax County resident, local political leader, former executive with a fortune 500 high tech software company and former official of the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Small Business Administration.